Five phone interview tips to get you through to the face-to-face round and to take you one step closer to your next job.
While putting together a great CV and cover letter could be the key that opens the door to your next potential job, the first phone interview that lies just inside that company’s door is make or break. Quite often, this is a screening opportunity for a recruiter or employer to get a quick feel for who the person is behind the CV.
And it’s not just on the phone, of course – Zoom or Google Meet or MS Teams are now also being used for these initial interviews, as are digital interviewing techniques such as pre-recorded video hiring. However, phone interviews are still hugely popular, especially with recruiters, and being able to nail them is critical.
So, here are five phone interview tips that will give you the edge.
1. Know your stuff
You may feel you’ve already done this with your brilliant cover letter, but a phone interview provides another opportunity to show that you both understand the nature of the role and have a feel for where you’re hoping to become a part of the team.
This doesn’t mean spending endless hours memorising hordes of information. It’s more like a game of cards where you reveal an extra card or two in your professional hand during the phone interview to show the recruiter how serious you are about landing the role.
Recruitment 101 Pro Tip: Keep some of those important keywords, themes or tasks from the position description to use again in the same way you used them in your cover letter without being heavy handed. It shows you understand the most crucial aspects of the role.
2. Be prepared for questions
Next up, prep for some of the basic questions you might get asked, such as “why are you applying for the role?” and “what about the organisation attracted you to wanting to work here”, and have at least one question of your own about either the role or the organisation.
On the day of the interview, make sure you have a quiet space to take the call where you won’t be interrupted and a pen and paper handy to take notes that could be useful either during the interview or the next round.
Recruitment 101 Pro Tip: Don’t be scared to practise with your partner, friend or housemate – it might feel awkward but this could also help you lock in some solid responses and dispel nerves.
3. Show your interest – be energised
It may seem like a given that applying for the role demonstrates your interest in it. However, the interview is the opportunity to really bed this down.
Approach it with heaps of energy and offer a genuine early expression of how much you want the role and admire the organisation.
Recruitment 101 Pro Tip: Take the phone interview as seriously as you would a face-to-face one – you may even want to dress up in a full interview kit to get you in the right mental space.
4. Listen carefully – think before you answer
This tip goes for any kind of interview and is yet one of the most simple pitfalls that trips up candidates, mostly due to nerves.
Carefully listen and consider your responses before answering as this shows the recruiter or interviewer that you are engaged and calm. Try not to over explain either. Clear, concise responses will cut through more than longer ones that try to prove how much you know.
Recruitment 101 Pro Tip: If you get a bit panicky because the question isn’t one you expected, don’t leave too much dead air. Repeat the question back to give yourself the moment you need to understand it and formulate your response.
5. Remember – this is just the first round
Phone interviews are the chance for a recruiter to get to know you better and bring forward a group of candidates to the next round. They are often short (maybe 15-30 minutes) and much more targeted than the next round.
So, don’t get bogged down in too much extra detail – hold off asking about the more nuts-and-bolts aspects of the role such as salary, perks etc unless this specifically comes up.
Recruitment 101 Pro Tip: Even if you feel comfortable and develop a rapport, let the recruiter or employer lead the conversation for the most and don’t dominate the discussion.
Bonus Tip – Follow up
When it’s clear the interview is coming to a close, feel free to ask for the recruiter’s email if you don’t already have it. This will allow you to send a brief thank-you email to let them know you appreciated their time and the opportunity, and to show you are clearly invested in the process.
Recruitment 101 Pro Tip: Keep the tone friendly but professional, and if there was something you feel you should have mentioned in your interview that you didn’t, this is the chance to get this across to them – just keep it brief and to the point.
Gorilla Jobs Can Help You
We love what we do at Gorilla Jobs, and while there are challenges, we are always ready to help you as a candidate or recruiting organisation to ensure the best talent ends up in the best jobs. Reach out to us today if you have any questions!